Trucking groups react positively to Chao confirmation

Updated Feb 5, 2017

Major trucking organizations are applauding the confirmation of Elaine Chao as the 18th secretary of the Department of Transportation.

She was confirmed easily by the Senate Tuesday, Jan. 31, and sworn in later in the day.

Reaction of major trucking organizations has been swift and positive.

Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence (right) with her husband Sen. Mitch McConnell (left) and Chao’s father James S.C. ChaoSecretary of Transportation Elaine Chao sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence (right) with her husband Sen. Mitch McConnell (left) and Chao’s father James S.C. Chao

Truckload Carriers Association

“I’ve had the privilege to be associated with some of Secretary Chao’s work throughout my career,” said TCA President John Lyboldt. “Along with her distinguished track record, she’ll bring innovative ideas to address the nation’s highway and infrastructure needs.”

A statement from the TCA said “Lyboldt added that now more than ever our industry needs to focus on meaningful improvements when it comes to the nation’s roadways and key regulations that keep our highways safe. ‘Secretary Chao is just the person to lead us in this transformation,’ he said.”

Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association

“The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association congratulates Elaine Chao on her confirmation as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Senate approved Secretary Chao today by an overwhelming 93-6 vote. The Association looks forward to working with Secretary Chao on a wide variety of issues affecting professional truck drivers.

“’Small-business trucking is the backbone of our economy,’ said OOIDA executive vice president Todd Spencer.  ‘It is our hope that the Secretary recognizes this and under her leadership will pursue policies that promote growth, improve highway safety, and reduce burdensome government regulations.'”

American Trucking Associations

“’Secretary Chao has a long and distinguished track record, from her time as Secretary of Labor where I got to know her best and her service as Deputy Transportation Secretary as well as with the United Way and Peace Corps,’ said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. ‘Wherever she has gone, Secretary Chao has demonstrated the kind of leadership and vision we need to address our nation’s pressing transportation issues and we look forward to quickly getting to work with her.’

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“’The trucking industry is excited to begin working with Secretary Chao, and eager to join with her in pushing to improve the safety and efficiency of our nation’s highways,’ said ATA Chairman Kevin Burch, president of Jet Express Inc.”

National Association of Truckstop Owners

“NATSO President and CEO Lisa Mullings said the travel plaza and truck stop industry looks forward to working with her on a broad spectrum of issues, including the need to find permanent, sustainable solutions to funding the Highway Trust Fund. She urged Secretary Chao, however, to seek solutions that solve the nation’s infrastructure investment challenges without harming the interstate-exit based businesses that help to support the nation’s economy and their local communities or putting public safety at risk.

“’Specifically, we hope that the Department of Transportation will eschew such revenue schemes as tolling and commercializing rest areas, both of which harm interstate exit-based businesses, the local communities that they support and consumers,’ Mullings said. ‘NATSO and the entire truck stop and travel plaza community are eager to work with Madam Secretary Chao to address the nation’s infrastructure needs in the interest of building a safer, more efficient national infrastructure network that will serve today’s modern economy.'”

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials

“We congratulate Elaine Chao on her confirmation as US Transportation Secretary and stand ready to work with DOT to continue efforts to rebuild and modernize America’s aging transportation infrastructure, said Bud Wright, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

“In her confirmation testimony, Secretary Chao said she believes the Trump Administration will support more federal funding for infrastructure as well as private financing. AASHTO agrees that a balanced approach to transportation investment will be required to fully support America’s transportation system into the future.”

Posted on the DOT Facebook page was this from Chao:

“It is an honor to rejoin the extraordinary people of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and begin working with them to rebuild, refurbish and revitalize America’s infrastructure.

“My goal has always been to help others access opportunity and build better lives for themselves and their families by supporting policies that foster job creation and workforce competitiveness. At this crucial time, the Department of Transportation can make a tremendous difference for our country.”

The Department of Transportation has a $75 billion annual budget and about 60,000 employees, including those in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.